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I'll Wait - 90%

SweetLeaf95, June 26th, 2018
Written based on this version: 2004, CD, Capitol Records (Remastered)

Alright, now I will admit that the step that Megadeth was taking away from thrash metal is present, even though so many like to blame the predecessor. Essentially, from Countdown to Risk, every albums takes the style of the previous one but lightens it up a bit. So basically, Youthanasia extracts the thrash metal attitude from the previous record, maintaining their signature tone, but leaving out the essential speed metal backbone that makes this genre what it is. However, it is still 100% a metal album. Not "just hard rock", no "pop influence", or any other stupid things that people seem to pull out of their asses. No, it's a metal record that's straight from the heart, and packs a lot of emotion in the song writing, with cleaner singing and less vicious rhythms, yet maintaining the dark tone and the heavy edge in the riff work. The aforementioned Van Halen track is one of their more emotional ones off of the 1984 album. And why would I mention this synth driven yet solid track from these rockers? Because emotion is what drove most of the themes on Youthanasia, plus it caused conflicts within the band, much like what Eddie and Alex were facing in 1984.

Aside from all of the jibber jabber of how this disc takes the softer approach, the idea of the songwriting weakening is a huge fallacy. There are a few standout elements on this one that helps this out greatly, one of the big ones being the leadership shown by the rhythm sections, bass, and drum work. Since Dave Mustaine has always been the main contributor/controller, this allowed a nice change of pace with the rest of the band to hearken in on stronger ideas, and thus, produced for some of the greatest rhythms ever laid down by the band. The very first set of notes of "Reckoning Day" shove that in your face right away, with the drums being a prime factor throughout, and laying down a solid foundation for the leads and the vocals. Bass work is more complex and audible in a clean fashion, showing a lot in "Train Of Consequences" the most, as well as "The Killing Road", and the title track being some of the bigger areas to capitalize on this. This, tied into the fact that Mustaine's singing voice has improved and soars through on a cleaner note makes for an easier listen. But the songwriting is still there! "Family Tree" has one of the greatest choruses ever. "Elysian Fields" draws in some of the tightest complexion and backing vocal utilization. And of course the more meaningful lyrics help. This easily breaks through on "The Killing Road", letting the pain shine through in musical excellence. So how people call this "generic" or "poppy" or anything dumb like that, I'll never know. The songwriting and beat construction is one hundred percent on point.

The entire other piece of the beast is the fact that Megadeth incorporate a lot of groove metal laced riffs, which makes sense, looking at the year that this came out. "Train Of Consequences" uses chord progressions that were dominated by the groove metal goers, with that chugging staccato like strumming as the basis for the track. The title track also rips into one of the greatest groove riffs ever written as a bridge between the chorus and second verse, and it's absolutely fantastic. Other tracks drop these hints in few and far throughout the release, keeping the whole thing consistent enough to understand the message, but enough surprises to keep all twelve tracks interesting. Albums of this length can get boring, but this one does not at all, thankfully. The only track that sticks out is "Victory", as it's a slice of cheese mentioning old Megadeth tunes as lyrics. I guess it's kinda fun, but definitely stands out some. That's the only gripe I have about it. Of course, as always, there's also some unreleased stuff and some demos as bonus material on this version. It kicks pretty hard, but the demo of "A Tout Le Monde" is horrible compared to the album track.

In the grand scheme of things, Youthanasia is another album that so many dislike for reasons that, wait for it, baffle me! It's just a hair below Peace Sells in my book. The writing is excellent. The heart-filled themes are well written and delivered beautifully. The rough aura of thrash is still present while not being the main component. They tamper with groove metal here and there. Really, I don't know what there is to hate about it. I guess if you're expecting something like Rust In Peace you'd be disappointed, but here's an idea; be open to change, evolution, and don't set such ridiculous parameters!